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“Debt (public and private) must concern us all,” says Mario Centeno, Governor of the Banco de Portugal – Observador.

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“Debt (public and private) must concern us all,” says Mario Centeno, Governor of the Banco de Portugal - Observador.

Portugal’s economy is set to grow 4.8% in 2021, the Bank of Portugal confirmed Wednesday in the launch of the Economic Bulletin in October. If this growth is confirmed, the banking supervisor points out, it would mean that the gross domestic product (GDP) will it approach the pre-pandemic level by the end of the year… On the other hand, Banco de Portugal Governor Mario Centeno indicated that he sees “Calm” the consequences of the termination of the banking moratorium (in September), but stressed that the Portuguese economy is still heavily indebted and “this should be of concern to all of us.”

“Recovery of activity reflects tackling the pandemic through the vaccination process – with a positive impact on the confidence of economic agents – and the maintenance of expansionary economic policies, ”says Banco de Portugal, also expecting inflation to reach 0.9% in 2021, although they are recognized as“ clearly growing ”risks associated with price increases , that is, the risks that inflation will be higher than expected, the lower, higher.

At the press conference, Mario Centeno spoke about the problems facing the economy at the moment. From the outset, “the country and companies, families came out of the banking moratorium period in September. This is a challenge that everyone is facing now, and I would like to emphasize this. “

We believe that this problem will be overcome in the sense that we are going to resume regular debt service payments either by companies or families, and with the help of measures that have been taken by then, or others that may arise, we calmly consider the problem “, Says Mario Centeno.

“Time bomb”? Bank guarantees “manageable” impact of lifting the moratorium

With regard to public debt, Mario Centeno began by saying that “in the pre-crisis period we saw a very significant reduction in private debt”, in particular, “in 2019, for the first time in many cases, private debt as a percentage of GDP fell. on average in the euro area ”. At this stage of the pandemic, Centeno emphasizes that “we must renew this trend, we must take care of the level of debt, both public and private.“.

The largest debt effort was undertaken by the government in 2021, accounting for 80% of the increase in total debt. This is clearly a concern in the current fiscal system, “said Centeno, adding that” public policy, including the fiscal balance, must be adequate and redouble attention to systemic developments. “

Other short-term risks for the Portuguese economy are associated with the possibility of a worsening situation with the pandemic and, on the other hand, with increased restrictions on the supply (of goods and services). These are factors that may be relevant, for example, in private consumption, which Banco de Portugal recognizes as “amazing” (on the positive side), since the sanitary restrictions were lifted within a year.

This is the quarterly economic newsletter, which, as usual, in the October issue does not include new projections for 2022… The forecast made in June for the next year was 5.6%. Here’s how those forecasts compare to June’s.

Source: Bank of Portugal.

“In the first half of the year, the drop in activity and the subsequent recovery were more pronounced in the service sector, which presupposes wider social contact. Service costs are still lower than in the pre-pandemic period, given persistent precautions, slow tourism recovery and increased use of teleworking, ”says Banco de Portugal. “On the contrary, spending on goods has already risen, albeit constrained by supply disruptions,” the document says.

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In 2021, private consumption will grow by 4.3%, the supervisor adds, highlighting the impact of “rising disposable income and a gradual decline in the savings rate.” “The growth in disposable income in real terms is the result of a rapid recovery in employment and the dynamism of nominal wages, which are mitigated by rising inflation,” notes Banco de Portugal.

Government consumption is expected to grow by 5.2% in real terms after near stabilization in 2020. Investments increased by 5.6%, boosted by the prospects for economic recovery, European funds and loans at low interest rates and guaranteed by the state, ”the Bank of Portugal said in a statement.

Merchandise exports “will grow by 10.7% in 2021 in line with the dynamism of external demand directed at the Portuguese economy,” notes Banco de Portugal, noting that “supply chain disruptions continue to affect this aggregate dynamics until the end of the year. “.

Lack of chips, stopped factories and very expensive energy. The ghosts that haunt the return

On the other hand, “exports of services will continue to be affected by the impact of the pandemic in 2021, up 7% after declining 37.2% in the previous year.” “At the end of the year, exports of services are about 20% lower than before the pandemic,” the supervisor concludes.

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Economy

Sonae increases profit to 42 million and breaks sales record until March – Empresas

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Sonae increases profit to 42 million and breaks sales record until March - Empresas

Despite a loss of 59 million euros in the first quarter of 2020 and a profit of only one million euros in the same period last year, the Sonae group closed its accounts before March with a net result of 42 million euros, year on year. year EBITDA increased by 17.2% to 149 million euros.

Sales rose 5.1% to a record €1.69 billion, with MC (Continente)’s business accounting for almost €1.3 billion, up 3.8% on the first three months of last year.

“The start of 2022 has been very good for Sonae. Our businesses have continued to perform well in their respective markets and the group has maintained a robust growth trajectory with higher levels of profitability, resulting in a higher portfolio valuation,” says Claudia. Azevedo, CEO of Sonae, in a message accompanying the 2022 Q1 earnings presentation released this Wednesday, May 18, to the Securities Markets Commission (CMVM).

Claudia Azevedo also highlights numbers reflecting a robust capital structure with leverage ratios and comfortable liquidity levels: “Our consolidated results, together with portfolio management activities, generated €627 million in ‘free cash flow’ over the last 12 months, allowing for a significant reduction in net debt of approximately for 600 million euros,” he says.

Strictly speaking, the reduction in net debt over the past year amounted to 588 million euros, of which 368 million were between January and March 2022.

At the same time, in the first three months of this year, it invested 110 million euros in acquisitions.

“These results were achieved under very difficult conditions, marked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” notes Claudia Azevedo, noting that “despite the fact that Sonae was not subjected to direct and material contact with these countries,” the group’s business “already felt indirect consequences of the conflict, namely through rising energy prices, widespread inflation and restrictions in supply chains, having managed to overcome these problems,” he concludes.

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However, “regardless of how the global economy and financial markets develop, with our business group, strong financial position and the competence of our teams, we are well positioned to navigate through this cycle of uncertainty, continue to strengthen our competitive position and take advantage of the opportunities presented,” — says the CEO of the group based in Maya.

Fashion up, wear down, Sierra triples profits

In terms of business units, beyond the giant MC, which Sonae says “continues to gain market share,” the focus is on the fashion business, where he explores brands like MO, Salsa, and Zippy, “with Zeitreel able to get back up to sales in the first quarter of 2019, after two very difficult years for the fashion industry affected by the restrictions of the pandemic”, ending the first three months of 2022 with sales of 96 million euros, an increase of 57% compared to last year.

In the sports business, sales of ISRG (Iberian Sports Retail Group), Sonae’s joint venture with JD Sports, which owns the SportZone brand, rose 66% to €366m, with online channel share up 15.7% to 21.1% into circulation, “largely due to the acquisition of Deporvillage,” Sonae admits.

Wortena, after two years of strong growth in a row, “the electronics market in Portugal contracted in the first quarter of 2022, mainly due to the pandemic in the first quarter of 2021, which markedly improved the online channel and increased sales of computer products.” . In addition, a “less severe winter” has passed, which “limited the search to seasonal categories”.

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“This unfavorable context for the electronics market and the reorganization of the supply in the Spanish mainland contributed to the reduction in turnover. [da Worten] from 4.1% to 261 million euros in the first quarter of 2022,” says Sonae.

At Sierra, which represents the group’s real estate business, especially shopping malls, “there were positive signs of recovery in early 2022”, net income tripled to 9.8 million euros, while asset valuation increased by 5.1% to 972 million euros. which further emphasizes this tenant. sales are up over 90% year on year.

In financial services, Universe’s output increased by 23% to €257 million, gaining “96k new customers compared to the first quarter of 2021, reaching around 989k at the end of the first quarter of 2022,” he said. assures.

As of March, Nos recorded a turnover of 373 million euros, representing a year-on-year growth of 10.6%, driven by the media and entertainment segments (over 71.1%) and telecommunications (9%), “with a positive contribution from the impact of mobile subscriptions, B2B service solutions and roaming revenues through fewer travel restrictions,” explains Sonae. Profit increased by 35% to 41 million euros compared to the first quarter of last year.

Finally, Bright Pixel (formerly Sonae IM) “continues to actively manage her portfolio” by adding several sells (she left Safetypay and ciValue) and buys (she joined Experify and Hackuity) and took part in the €35 Cybersixgill promotion. millionth round of funding.

“At the end of the first quarter of 2022, the capital invested in the active portfolio reached 159 million euros, and the net asset value was 378 million euros,” Sonae concludes regarding the performance of its technology investment division for the first three months. this year.

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However, following the end of the quarter, Bright Pixel agreed with Thales Europe to sell all share capital and voting rights to Maxive, the holding company that includes S21sec and Excellium.

“The transaction has an underlying ‘corporate value’ of Maxive of €120 million and is estimated to have a positive impact on Sonaecom’s consolidated results of around €63 million,” Sonae clarifies.

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The number of fake accounts threatens Musk’s Twitter purchase

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The number of fake accounts threatens Musk's Twitter purchase

Billionaire Elon Musk, who has vowed to eliminate “spambots” from Twitter, has claimed through the social network that there may be more such automated accounts than expected, rendering the purchase agreement unfeasible.

The recent turn by the world’s richest man to buy the social network was controversial and, according to some analysts, pointless, short of trying to drive down the cost of Twitter or renegotiate a deal that experts say is getting more and more expensive for the Tesla CEO.

While such heavy-handed tactics are not uncommon in corporate mergers, the way in which this happens, becoming a widely publicized topic on the same platform that Elon Musk intends to acquire, is almost unprecedented, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The Tesla founder recently pushed investors to their limit by announcing that he was temporarily putting on hold the purchase of the platform he announced for nearly $44 billion, only to later correct that information and indicate that he remains committed to acquiring it.

“This is the strategy you are trying to use as a way to avoid [do negócio] or get a lower price,” said Brian Quinn, associate professor of law at Boston College.

Musk took to Twitter on Tuesday to say that the agreement reached to buy the company cannot “move forward” unless the social network provides public evidence that less than 5% of the accounts on the platform are fake or “fake spam.”

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Experts say Mux cannot unilaterally halt the deal, though that hasn’t stopped the billionaire from acting as if he could.

If he backs out of the agreement, he could be ordered to pay a $1 billion fee.

On Monday, Elon Musk bluntly and sarcastically responded to reports from the CEO of Twitter about fake accounts.

Parag Agrawal emphasized in his post that the social network blocks more than half a million “spam” accounts every day “before users even see them.”

“The most difficult problem is that many accounts that at first glance seem to be fake are actually real people. And some of the fake accounts that are actually the most dangerous and cause the most harm to our users may appear to be completely legitimate,” he added.

According to Agrawal, this is why the Twitter team cannot identify all fake profiles.

“We measure it within the company. And every quarter, we estimate that less than 5% of the quarterly monetized active users (mDAUs) are spam accounts,” he said.

However, the CEO indicated that “actual internal estimates for the past four quarters have been well below 5%.”

But Elon Musk mentioned in a tweet this Tuesday that there are “20% fake/spam accounts,” four times as many as Twitter claims.

Musk warned that the figure could be much higher and that his offer to buy was based on the accuracy of the social network’s records.

For Brian Quinn, the words of the founder of Tesla do not make sense.

“The disclosure you are asking for is the same information that the company has been filing with the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) for a long period of time,” he said.

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This Monday, Elon Musk said for the first time during a technology conference in Miami that he would like to pay less to buy Twitter and that a bargain at a lower price was out of the question.

Also at All In Summit, Musk estimated that at least 20% of the 229 million Twitter accounts are “spam” “bots”, noting that this percentage is at the low end of his estimate.

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Economy

Lagarde Cuts ECB Chief Economist Interventions During Monetary Policy Meetings – Monetary Policy

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Lagarde Cuts ECB Chief Economist Interventions During Monetary Policy Meetings - Monetary Policy

European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde wants more votes to be given to all national central bank governors on the institution’s board during monetary policy meetings, reducing the intervention of the chief economist. and executive committee members at meetings, Reuters reported, citing six people close to the matter.

The British agency claims that Lagarde asked Philip Lane, the central bank’s chief economist, and Isabelle Schnabel, a member of the institution’s “executive board”, to limit their intervention and leave more room for those in charge of the central banks of the 19 eurozone countries. can comment on monetary policy in the region.

Lagarde decided to limit board presentations to 20 pages and asked staff to finish their seminars by lunchtime on the first day of the long-awaited ECB monetary policy meetings.

Also, these meetings now start on Wednesday mornings instead of the usual afternoons. In turn, Thursday’s session starts half an hour earlier to give more room for debate.

According to the same sources, these rules have already been applied at the last meeting on monetary policy, which took place on 14 April.

Lane’s presentations and proposals take center stage at the ECB’s membership meetings, which include an informal Wednesday night dinner attended by 19 ECB governors and six board members.

Until these rules were enforced, there were meetings where Lane’s presentations exceeded 60 pages, limiting the time for debate between the 19 eurozone governors.

As for Schnabel, these new rules are only preventive in nature, since, according to the same sources, his appearances are “relatively short”.

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“Philip has a huge presence [nestas reuniões]it’s good to balance [a sua posição com a dos governadores] “, one of the sources concluded.

The Council of the European Central Bank will meet on June 9 to discuss monetary policy in the euro area, while markets and the institution’s own members, including Lagarde, point to an interest rate hike already underway. end of the asset purchase program.

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